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Copernicus follows the closure of the ozone hole in 2021 - one of the longest Antarctic ozone holes ever

Copernicus follows the closure of the ozone hole in 2021 – one of the longest Antarctic ozone holes ever

Researchers from the Copernicus Atmospheric Monitoring Service confirm that the 2021 ozone hole in Antarctica will end soon, after a season with an unusually large and extended ozone hole. It closed just a week before 2020, which was the longest period since 1979.


the left: Vitality From the ozone hole on October 15. Right: Forecasts made on December 13 for total ozone fields on Monday, December 20 from the EAC show only a small area with values ​​below 220 DU over Antarctica. Source: Copernicus Atmospheric Monitoring Service, ECMWF

Copernicus Atmospheric Monitoring Service (CAMS)And Conducted by the European Center for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) on behalf of the European Commission and with funding from the European Union, it is reported that the Antarctic ozone hole will soon be closed. Like last year’s season, the 2021 ozone hole was one of the largest and longest-lived on record, and left: An animation of the ozone hole on October 15. Right: Forecasts made on December 13 for total ozone fields on Monday, December 20 from the EAC show only a small area with values ​​below 220 DU over Antarctica. Source: Copernicus Atmospheric Monitoring Service, ECMWFIt all follows ozone holes since 1979.

Vincent-Henri Buch, Head of the Copernican Atmospheric Monitoring Service at ECMWF commented: “The Antarctic ozone holes in 2020 and 2021 were very large and long-lived. The Montreal Protocol is not working. Without it, it would have been even larger, due to changing weather conditions. The dynamics that influence the size of the ozone hole affects the long-term recovery, the EAS system monitors the amount of ultraviolet radiation reaching the Earth’s surface, and in recent weeks we have seen a significant rise in UV indexes (above 8) over parts of the continent Antarctica under the ozone hole.

The Montreal Protocol, signed in 1978, is one of the most important climate action agreements established to protect the ozone layer. The Protocol bans harmful chemicals associated with ozone layer depletion such as CFCs and HFCs. These chemicals remain in the atmosphere for long periods and reach the stratosphere where they contribute to the depletion of the ozone layer. Thanks to the Montreal Protocol, concentrations of these chemicals are slowly decreasing. However, due to its long life, it will take about four decades for the ozone layer to fully recover.

The Competence Assurance Management System contributes to the international efforts to Preserving the ozone layer through continuous monitoring and data provision about its current condition. Computer models of the atmosphere are combined with measurements from satellites and on-site measurement stations to closely monitor developments. Since this ozone layer acts as a shield and protects against harmful UV rays, it is crucial to keep track of its changes.

“CAMS monitors the ozone layer and provides reliable data based on different types of satellite observations and numerical modeling. It also allows monitoring the emergence, development and closure of annual ozone holes in a detailed way. The collected data, together with our forecasts, enables us to monitor The ozone season and a comparison of its evolution over the past 40 years,” adds Vincent-Henri Buch.

How is the ozone hole formed?

Substances containing chlorine and bromine accumulate in the polar vortex where they remain chemically inactive in the dark. The temperature in the vortex can drop as low as -78°C and ice crystals can form in the polar stratosphere clouds. They, in turn, play an important role in chemical reactions. When the sun shines over the pole, the sun’s energy releases chemically active chlorine and bromine atoms into the vortex that rapidly destroys the ozone molecules, causing the hole to form.

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More information about the ozone hole can be found on our website:

About ECMWF and Copernicus

Copernicus is part of the European Union’s Space Programme, funded by the European Union, the leading Earth observation programme. The operation operates through six thematic services: Atmosphere, Marine, Land, Climate Change, Security and Emergencies. It provides freely available operational data and services that provide users with reliable and up-to-date information about our planet and its environment. The program is coordinated and managed by the European Commission and implemented in partnership with Member States, the European Space Agency (ESA), the European Organization for the Exploitation of Meteorological Satellites (EUMTSAT), the European Center for Medium Distance Forecasting (ECMWF), European Union agencies, Mercator Océan and more.

ECMWF operates two services of the European Union’s Copernicus Earth Observation Program: the Copernicus Atmospheric Monitoring Service (CAMS) and the Copernicus Climate Change Service (C3S). They also contribute to the Copernican Emergency Management Service (CEMS), which is implemented by the European Union Joint Research Council (JRC). The European Center for Medium Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) is an independent intergovernmental organization supported by 34 countries. It is a 24/7 operational research and service institute that produces and publishes digital weather forecasts to its member states. These data are fully available to the national meteorological services of the member states. The supercomputer facility (and associated data archives) at the ECMWF is one of the largest of its kind in Europe and member states can use 25% of its capacity for their own purposes.

ECMWF has increased the number of places in which it does business. In addition to the UK headquarters and the computing center in Italy, new offices focusing on activities implemented in partnership with the European Union, such as Copernicus, will be located in Bonn, Germany starting in the summer of 2021.

Copernicus Atmosphere Monitoring Service:

Copernicus Climate Change Service:
More information about Copernicus:

ECMWF: s webb:

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Media connection

Nuria Lopez
Communication | Copernicus contracts and the press
General manager’s office
European Center for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts
Reading, UK | Bologna, Italy
Email: [email protected]
Phone: +44 (0) 118949 9778
Mobile: +44 (0) 7392277523
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Bjorn Mogensen
Oxenstierna Communication
+46 708-184298
[email protected]


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